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UTSA presents Brecht play that parallels Hitler and American crime lords


Poster for Brecht play

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(May 2, 2012) -- The UTSA Department of English Drama Through Performance Troupe will present the gangster spectacle "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" at 7:15 p.m., Thursday, May 3 and Friday, May 4 in the Buena Vista Theater at the UTSA Downtown Campus. The performance is free and open to the public.

Written in 1941 by Bertolt Brecht when he was living in exile in Finland while awaiting a visa to enter the United States, the parable play aims to destroy the dangerous respect commonly felt for great killers.

Directed against Hitler and the powerful "big shots" of the time and transposed into terms of the American gang world, the play attempted to make Hitler's rise intelligible to an American audience by placing it at a time and place that would be familiar to them.

The shatteringly accurate parallel between Hitler and his henchmen and the old crime lords in the United States provides a satirical allegory of the Nazi's rise to power in a depressed Germany. In Chicago, the Cauliflower Trust is in need of help and turns to a racketeer by the name of Arturo Ui to begin a "protection" campaign. The activities include "accidental fires" and a St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

An influential theater practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht was a poet, playwright, director and dramaturg. He is known particularly through his work with the Berliner Ensemble, a post-war theater company operated by Brecht and his wife, longtime collaborator and actress Helene Weigel.

Dramaturgy involves a comprehensive exploration of the context of a play. The dramaturg is the resident expert and consultant on the physical, social, political and economic scenarios of the play, along with the psychology of the characters, themes and technical considerations of a production including writing and design.

The play keeps with Brecht's Epic Style of Theater, using an alternative to the traditional Aristotelian dramatic theory, which allows the audience to observe critically to draw conclusions and participate in an intellectual argument with the play, rather then sitting back and just being entertained. The Aristotelian theory of tragedy dictates that a play have a clear beginning, middle and end (rising action, climax and resolution), a character with a tragic flaw that brings his or her downfall, a maxim that is proved, spectacle and catharsis (or emotional purging).

"Arturo Ui" opens in a prologue with a direct address to the audience, outlining the major characters and explaining the basis of the upcoming plot. The audience is allowed to better focus on the message, rather than the suspense of what may happen next.

The UTSA production is directed by Lynn Oliver, UTSA Department of English faculty member. For more information, contact Bridget Drinka, chair of the UTSA Department of English, at 210-458-5130.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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